International crew on the way to ISS

International crew on the way to ISS

Carrying a trio of astronauts for a six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Soyuz FG rocket blasted off from its pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at GMT-5; 2:20 a. m. on Friday (local time).

The crew includes Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, American astronaut Peggy Whitson and the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Thomas Pesquet, who will become the first French astronaut to live aboard the ISS.

Around 9 minutes after the liftoff, the Soyuz capsule carrying the three-person Expedition 50/51 crew reached Earth's low-orbit. For the next couple of days, the crew will keep on travelling in space, chasing the orbiting lab.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement, "This was a perfect evening. When we talk about the journey to Mars and the way we're bringing nations of the world together, this is the epitome of that. It's a great night ... getting three more crew members up there."

The capsule's docking with the space station is scheduled for 5:01 p. m. EST (2201 GMT) on Saturday, November 19, 2016.

With the arrival of there new astronauts, the space station's crew will return to six. NASA astronaut and ISS commander Shane Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov are already there.